4 Ideas for Building a Healthy Working Relationship With Your Disability Attorney

4 Ideas for Building a Healthy Working Relationship With Your Disability Attorney

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can be a long and stressful process. When you’re trying to recover from a major injury and you just want to get your life back, this level of stress is the last thing you need. That’s where your SSDI attorney comes into the picture.

Their job is to take this stress off of you and get you the benefits you deserve so you can focus on healing. When you don’t have a great relationship with your lawyer, however, it can all seem worse. Check out these four ideas for building a healthy working relationship with your disability attorney so you can get the most from your benefits application.

Know What to Expect

The first step in building a great relationship with your disability attorney is to know what to expect from them. They have a number of responsibilities, first and foremost of which is to serve as your point of communication with the Social Security Administration.

The process begins when your attorney completes a review of your case to form a strategy to get you the benefits you need. They will then walk you through the application process to be sure your application has been properly completed and that there are no errors or omitted information. Your attorney will help you keep your records complete and in order, will represent you to the SSA and at any hearings, and will file an appeal if needed.

Have Patience

Social Security cases don’t always proceed quickly. Ideally, a case can be turned around within three or four months from the initial date of application. They can, however, take much longer, with some states seeing a nearly two-year turnaround time. To maintain a positive relationship with your attorney, understand that the delays are not likely their fault and that the process does take time. Having patience when you’re suffering is tough, but remember: Your attorney is on your side.

Stay in Contact

Reaching out to your attorney when you haven’t heard anything in a while isn’t a crime. Good communication is the core of any relationship, and it’s a two-way street. Your attorney should give you regular updates on your case, and you should be comfortable calling them up with any questions or concerns you have.

Just remember to be polite and professional in your dealings with them. They understand how frustrating the process can be, and they aren’t trying to make it worse for you. If anything, your attorney will work to set your mind at ease, but they’ll always be honest and forthright with you.

Use Their Experience

Your Social Security disability attorney has likely been doing this for quite some time. Their experience is what allows them to successfully pursue your case. They know how to speak to the SSA and to medical providers. They know how to navigate the hearing process, and they know the judges in your district. Your attorney knows how to cross-examine those with counter opinions, called “vocational experts,” and they know how to handle issues with your medical records that might present a road bump in your application.

Use their experience, and understand that the advice your attorney gives you is coming from a place of understanding, knowledge and caring. Your attorney is your ally, and they want to see your case succeed. Work with them, and treat them as the partner they are.

Hire an Experienced Disability Attorney

If you’re applying for SSDI and you need help with the process, an experienced disability attorney is the way to go. Joel Thrift has represented hundreds of clients and recovered millions in awards. He is the attorney who will always return calls and be your best ally in getting Social Security disability benefits in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. Give Joel Thrift Law, LLC a call for a consultation on your case today.

How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Disability Attorney?

How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Disability Attorney?

Navigating the Social Security disability claims process can be a difficult task, especially when you are living with a chronic illness or other debilitating condition. It is common for claimants to get through the beginning stages of their claim, only to end up with a rejection letter. The entire process can weigh heavily on your mental health as well, making the need for legal guidance extremely important. However, if you’re already struggling to pay your bills due to the inability to work, how can you afford a lawyer?

How Much Does a Social Security Disability Attorney Cost?

Luckily, Social Security disability attorneys work differently than many other attorneys you may collaborate with during your lifetime. To help a much wider client base, disability lawyers don’t charge their clients any up-front fees or require that you put down a retainer fee. Instead, the majority of disability lawyers work on a contingency basis—where they will only be paid if they can help you win your benefits.

What is a Contingency Fee?

When you initially speak with a disability attorney or advocate, it’s common to sign a contingency fee agreement that gives the Social Security Administration (SSA) permission to allocate a portion of your awarded fees to your attorney to help cover the cost of their services. If your claim is approved, the SSA will go over the details of the agreement to make sure it follows all fee agreement guidelines and ensure that your legal counsel receives the payment they are entitled too. There is no additional work that you need to complete on your end, eliminating the need for bank transfers or writing a check.

For those who are unable to pay up-front fees to a lawyer or advocate, this is a great opportunity to get the help you need to follow the SSA’s strict guidelines. When a fee agreement is made on a contingency basis, you can rest easy knowing that your disability attorney will not be paid unless you win your claim.

How Much is the Social Security Disability Attorney’s Fee?

When you enter into a written agreement with a disability attorney, it states that if you win your claim, the fee amount they are entitled to is capped at 25% of your past-due benefits. While this may seem like a large sum, the maximum fee that your disability lawyer can be awarded is also limited to $6,000. Additionally, if your claim must be appealed at a federal level, your lawyer may be entitled to additional fees. However, most Social Security disability claims end at the Social Security hearing stage.

Another important factor to keep in mind when it comes to contingency fees is the fact that your attorney is only paid if you are awarded past-due benefits. If no past-due or “backpay” benefits are awarded in your claim, your attorney will not be paid a fee for their services. However, if this situation arises, your disability attorney can submit a fee petition to the SSA to request a higher fee.

Additional Costs

Throughout the course of the Social Security disability claims process, you may be required to present the SSA with lots of different paperwork to help support your claim. The SSA may request that you provide them with medical, work and school records and undergo new medical or psychological testing. These costs are typically paid outside of a contingency fee and are the responsibility of the client. As you consider hiring a disability lawyer, you must ask whether you may be charged any other additional fees out-of-pocket before agreeing to work together.

Should I Hire a Disability Attorney?

Because there is little to no risk of paying out-of-pocket for a disability attorney fees, it is often in the best interest of the claimant to hire a Social Security disability attorney. The Social Security disability claims process can be grueling, especially if your claim is denied right away. It can be difficult to pick yourself back up and file an appeal without proper legal guidance and an advocate by your side. However, when you hire a disability attorney who works with clients on a contingency basis, you can enjoy peace of mind in knowing that they will do everything in their power to ensure that you are awarded all of the benefits you’re entitled to.

Once you are awarded your benefits, the SSA will do all of the work necessary to determine your backpay amount and pay your attorney fees before awarding your first disability check. The maximum amount that will be subtracted from your benefits is just 25% of your backpay or a maximum of $6,000. There’s no negotiating over fees and you’ll never have to worry about doing the math either.

Contact Joel Thrift Law Today

There’s no reason that you need to fight for your disability benefits on your own. Are you interested in learning more about the many benefits of working with an attorney on your Social Security disability claim? At Joel Thrift Law, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through the Social Security disability claims process. Got a question? Give us a call today at (678) 296-7952 or contact us today for more information and be sure to schedule an initial consultation.